Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 2005

– in the House of Lords at 7:43 pm on 23 November 2005.

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Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, the main purpose of the draft Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions)(Northern Ireland) Order 2005 is to provide powers of entry to and inspection of employment agencies and employment businesses in order to ascertain compliance with regulations governing such bodies operating from premises in Northern Ireland. It will help protect the interests of the recruitment industry's users, both the work-seekers and the hirers.

The provisions are broadly in line with those already in force in Great Britain and, in line with Great Britain, the department will carry out a programme of targeted inspections. Consultation on the draft order confirmed general support for these proposals, including support from the recruitment industry itself.

In addition, the order will amend the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998, commonly known as FETO, to harmonise criteria for certain appointments to industrial tribunals and the Fair Employment Tribunal, and clarify the Fair Employment Tribunal's power to enforce costs awards.

In conclusion, I commend the order to your Lordships' House as an opportunity to safeguard the interests of clients using employment agencies and employment businesses. We are convinced that the provisions will result in increased confidence for users of the recruitment industry in Northern Ireland. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 24 October be approved.—(Lord Rooker.)

Photo of Viscount Bridgeman Viscount Bridgeman Spokespersons In the Lords, (Assisted By Shadow Law Officers), Spokespersons In the Lords, Northern Ireland, Deputy Chief Whip, Whips

My Lords, we support this order. Clearly, there was a requirement to give the tribunal powers to inspect and enter premises. I note that it is in line with practice in Great Britain. I am grateful for the human rights issues being set out in the explanatory memorandum, and we are entirely satisfied with those.

Photo of Lord Smith of Clifton Lord Smith of Clifton Spokesperson in the Lords, Northern Ireland Affairs

My Lords, we on these Benches also support this order. It is an essential tidying-up—a corollary, really. It has our backing.

Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Crossbench

My Lords, on behalf of my party, we support this order as well. Surprisingly enough, some of the key questions I was going to ask have been answered by the Minister, and I am totally thrilled with that. I thank him for his explanation of the order, and I look forward to its outworking.

Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in support from the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Ulster Unionists. I hope, wish and pray that the flood of Northern Ireland legislation coming to this House will receive similar all-party support.

I am not looking to create problems for myself, and if I have to withdraw that thanks, I do so. I say that in the best spirits of the House, however. We are very grateful for the support for the order.

Photo of Lord Smith of Clifton Lord Smith of Clifton Spokesperson in the Lords, Northern Ireland Affairs

My Lords, before the Minister sits down, we on these Benches always try to be helpful with regard to Northern Ireland legislation. There are occasions, of course—there may be some in the future—when that support will not be forthcoming.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Photo of Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton Government Whip

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure until 8.43 pm.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 7.48 to 8.43 pm.]